Darran ‘Daz’ Challis is running the London Marathon 2019 for the Invictus Games Foundation – read his story and support his journey!

I joined the Parachute Regiment at 18 years old and served for 26 years leaving as a Warrant Officer Class 2. 

I was Medically Discharged in 2012 due to injuries I sustained whilst training and on Operational Tours, (Fractures to Cervical, Thoracic and Lumber Spine, Fracture to Pelvis, Both Femur’s Fractured, Partial Hip Replacement and various other minor injuries). Whilst my injuries were not life threatening, they had a major impact, not only on my personal life, but it meant that I could no longer carry out my duties in the Army.

During my Army career, I had been very active and represented my Regiment at various sports with running as my main interest, competing in cross-country, road races and the occasional track event. I was lucky enough to have represented the Army at cross-country and road racing marathons and ultra-distance events and take part in the Combined Services Championships.

Taking part in the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 was like being back in the military family again, only this time I was representing and wearing my country’s uniform on the sporting field rather than on the battlefield.  It was an honour and privilege to be part of Team UK with the support from fellow teammates and other competitors and one I will never forget.

The Games gave me the opportunity to show people that just because you have an injury, with the right support network, anything is possible. The Invictus Games also gave me the passion to take up adaptive sport, to push myself and my injuries to new heights. 

Taking part in the 2016 Invictus Games helped me have a greater understanding about what I can do rather than what I can’t do, it also gave me the opportunity to meet other amazing athletes, coaches and support staff who not only inspired me but gave me the confidence to push my injuries further than I thought possible! 

It has also made want to inspire and give back to others what sport has given me, so I now coach both disabled adults and young people in swimming and cycling.

I chose to get involved with running the London Marathon 2019 for the Invictus Games Foundation as I completed the London Marathon twice, before I was injured and discharged from service.  I am taking part in this year’s marathon to show I still can and to give back to this amazing charity that has not only helped me but also other WIS personnel. 

The training for the Marathon has helped me focus and given me a goal, this has taken my mind off some of my injuries and work/family issues.  When running I have been able to let my mind “wander” and explore what is around me, take new routes, see things that I wouldn’t normally see, and be out in the open rather than in an office. It has allowed me to escape the day-to-day issues of living with injuries and taking medication and all the other work-life balances that I normally have to cope with.

Whilst running and training, I hope to meet lots of amazing people who will be running for lots of other charities and for themselves as a challenge. It will be good to share stories with them and support each other in the event. It will also hopefully encourage other WIS personnel to go out and have a go and meet other people despite their injuries, and not to say I can’t but instead say I can, I will and I am.

If you see me on the course, any encouragement will be gratefully received! You can donate to the Invictus Games Foundation fundraising page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/daz-challis-2

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